Oct 7th, 2020
For many fly anglers, there comes a time when the quality of the fish becomes more meaningful than the quantity of fish caught. When this happens, the challenge of the pursuit and capture become paramount, and the largest and wisest of fish consume our angling aspirations. For those interested in seeking true trophy trout, it is often the case that location is a large part of the equation. The following destinations will put any angler in the game, offering the chance to hook a true fish of a lifetime.
For more information on any of these destinations, contact Fly Water Travel at (800) 552-2729.
New Zealand is one of the world’s most unique and challenging trout fisheries, where anglers have the opportunity to spot their trout before casting to it. Sight fishing – which comprises roughly 75% of the angling – is demanding and intense by Western fishing standards. The fish are large and wary, the streams and rivers in which they live are often crystal clear, and interestingly enough, anglers are their only formidable natural predator. As a result, Kiwi fish can be very spooky. When stalking these fish, the perfect first cast is the ultimate weapon. Located at the north end of the South Island, Owen River Lodge is a stylish and cool, yet understated lodge for discerning fly fishers. From home base on sixteen acres of serene riverfront property on the Owen River, guests can easily access more than thirty rivers in the area, most of which are less than an hour’s drive from the premises.
Rapids Camp Lodge is an easy to reach full service fly-out Alaskan fly fishing lodge with excellent home waters and one of the most diverse and exciting fly fishing programs in Alaska. Seasoned hardcore fly anglers appreciate the wide range of water the lodge frequents. This includes staples like the Brooks, Moraine, Battle Creek and the American River. Other prolific “under the radar” rainbow and char fisheries mandate the use of their fleet of float and/or wheeled planes and sturdy walking legs. During the early and late season, the lodge concentrates on fly fishing for large rainbows in the “rapids” of the Naknek River near the lodge. Anglers typically employ spey rods and steelhead tactics to entice these supercharged rainbows that commonly run in the five to ten pound range.
If we were put on the spot and asked specifically where the most prolific 100 yards of trophy trout water in the world was, our response would be instant and our tone would be confident. “It is where Argentina’s Rio Barrancoso flows into Lago Strobel.” We have been there and fished it and must say that in all our years of fly fishing, we have never seen, heard of or experienced anything remotely like it. Some label it surreal or incomprehensible, but for simplicity and accuracy let us call it the one and only Jurassic Lake Lodge.
The key to the Williamson River’s giant trout lies in the hypereutrophic shallows of Klamath Lake where wild rainbows can grow to 20 inches in three years. As the lake warms, these rainbow trout migrate into the cold flowing tributaries, the most notable of which is the Williamson River. A river of many moods, the Williamson requires the visiting angler to utilize every trick in the book and the rewards are worth it with many fish exceeding 20 inches and fish upwards of 10 pounds possible.
In the heart of endless farm and ranch country in southwest Alberta lies an undiscovered area with impressively large trout, wide open country and very little angling pressure. It is in this area that Cam Jensen has set up his Eastslope Adventures. Eastslope Adventures guides a host of productive and unspoiled trout fisheries in southwest Alberta, including the Castle, Oldman, Waterton and St. Mary’s river drainages. Cam and his guides specialize in fishing dry flies to large trout while wading. Although the bulk of this program is walk and wade, the early season is dominated by drift trips in rafts. Packages include accommodations and meals at a rustic log lodge situated on the Waterton River. This is the same river that recently produced Alberta’s new record brown trout.
Poronui’s unique combination of world-class wilderness fishing, elegant accommodations, gourmet food and wine, varied non-angling activities and modern conveniences has earned them a devout and loyal following from around the world. Located near the center of the North Island, east of Lake Taupo, Poronui’s 16,000 acres are recognized as some of the finest and most productive trout and game habitat in the country, if not the world. Anglers visiting the ranch can expect to fish new water every day. In addition to their nearly 25 miles of private water, Poronui has special access to vast tracts of Maori owned land as well as a limitless supply of remote public water. Much of the access is gained via modern off-road vehicles or helicopter fly-outs.
Salvelinus’s fishing program stands up against many of the world’s premier fisheries. They have access to a vast array of mountain lakes and streams as well as countless mid-elevation and lowland rivers. As one might expect, the higher elevation rivers and lakes offer higher catch rates for smaller fish in dramatic alpine settings. The surprise of the region is the mid-elevation and lowland rivers. These are often tailwaters that hold their flow throughout the season and produce some truly remarkable fishing for large rainbow and brown trout.
Strategically located on a 120-acre inholding within the heart of Katmai National Park’s finest trout waters, Royal Wolf Lodge is one of Alaska’s finest fly-out fly fishing operations. In terms of location, Royal Wolf is hard to beat. Short flying times to the region’s premier watersheds including the Moraine, Funnel, Big Ku, Battle, American and the Kvichak are guaranteed, as is quality home water in the event of poor flying conditions. Widely recognized for their strategic fly fishing program, Royal Wolf Lodge is also a “repeat” location for some of Alaska’s most experienced and productive guides including Dave Goodhart and Scott O’Donnell. Idyllically set overlooking a private lake, Royal Wolf features charming, rustic cabins with baths. Fine meals are served in the comfort of the main lodge. For the serious rainbow fly fishing enthusiast, Royal Wolf Lodge is without question one of the state’s premier destinations. Spaces are limited so early bookings are encouraged.
In many ways Las Pampas Lodge offers the ultimate Argentine trout fishing experience. Their remote location, their diversity of waters, and there 100% Argentine staff makes this a complete package that is hard to improve upon. With a multitude of spring creeks, small freestone rivers, and trophy still waters as well as a mix of rainbow, brown and brook trout all within a small radius, anglers are presented with an array of options that would take weeks to fully sample. Their local Argentine staff is equally as appealing and excel at making their guests feel like part of their larger family. When combined with its unique location, distance from other lodges, and exclusive access to private waters Las Pampas Lodge is and remains a distinguished Fly Water favorite.